Iron Man brings in gold for Utes

Former MLB superstar Cal Ripken, Jr. was the keynote speaker of a Utah baseball fund-raiser Monday night at the Sheraton City Centre.

The event was called, “An Evening With Cal Ripken, Jr.” and followed two sessions of the Cal Ripken Utah Baseball Clinic, during which the 19-time Major League All-Star helped train young ballplayers from ages 8-18. The banquet began with a dinner and ended with a speech by Ripken. The event, which cost $100 per ticket, will serve as a fund-raiser for the Utah baseball program.

“I’ve always believed that baseball programs need a little help everywhere,” Ripken said. “This was a good opportunity. I had a good time teaching the kids today.”

While Ripken has no direct connection to the university itself, he was asked to participate in the fund-raiser through a friend of his who works at Stein Eriksen’s Lodge in Park City, where Ripken and his family go skiing annually.

“I have a good friend, Russ Olson, who works down at Eriksen’s lodge, and he’s got a passion for baseball and a particular interest in helping out,” Ripken said. “I fell in love with the area when my kids started coming here to ski years ago.”

Ripken also did some offseason training at the University of Utah late in his career. Since his retirement from the Baltimore Orioles in 2001, Ripken has focused much of his attention on the business world. He now owns two minor-league baseball teams and has several other business ventures in various stages of development.

But he has also spent a lot of time in the arena of public speaking, where he says he has tried to convey the methods of success that have worked for him during both his playing and post-playing days.

“The remarks usually center around some of the experience that I was able to draw from when I had success as a baseball player, and I’m applying that to the next part of my life, which is more in the business sense,” Ripken told The Chronicle. “Basically, (I talk) about values and principles and keys to my success that can apply whether you’re a younger kid just starting out, or if you’re 41 years old starting a business life.”

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